By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Author
Lengthy thought of the most important occasion in ladies’s golf, the U.S. Girls’s Open now has prize cash and future websites to match.
The U.S. Golf Affiliation introduced Friday the purse will practically double this yr to $10 million, by far the richest in ladies’s golf and difficult high prizes in ladies’s sports activities.
The purse was $5.5 million when Yuka Saso received at Olympic Membership final yr.
Serving to to make it attainable was the USGA bringing on a presenting sponsor — Ohio-based PreMedica, a not-for-profit built-in well being group serving 28 states.
With ProMedica’s backing, the U.S. Girls’s Open purse plans to extend to $11 million and ultimately $12 million over the following 5 years.
Together with an enormous soar in cash, the USGA is sending the ladies to among the traditional U.S. Open designs that for many years have hosted the lads. That listing features a return to Oakmont and Pinehurst No. 2, together with Riviera, Oakland Hills, Merion, Inverness and Interlachen.
The USGA mentioned Pinehurst would host the lads’s and ladies’s Open in successive weeks in 2029, simply because it did in a extremely profitable debut in 2014. Martin Kaymer received the U.S. Open, and Michelle Wie captured her first main on the U.S. Girls’s Open the next week.
It is the primary main initiative by the USGA since Mike Whan, the previous LPGA Tour commissioner, took over as CEO final summer season.
“The USGA prides itself on conducting championships that not solely present an unbelievable stage for the athletes, but additionally give youthful gamers one thing to dream about,” Whan mentioned. “For greater than 75 years, the U.S. Girls’s Open has been the one that each little woman, in each nation all over the world, has dreamed of profitable.”
He mentioned the partnership with ProMedica helps make that occur. The well being group additionally can be a advertising and marketing associate of the USGA, and its “ProMedica Affect Fund” would be the official charity of the Girls’s Open. The fund is dedicated to elevating greater than $1 billion over eight years for applications geared towards enhancing particular person and neighborhood well being.
“We’ll push to alter the sport and what it means to younger ladies worldwide to be able to attain new heights yearly,” Whan mentioned.
The Girls’s Open is June 2-5 at Pine Needles Lodge in North Carolina, after which it strikes to Pebble Seashore for the primary time the next yr. Pebble Seashore was already on the schedule.
Pine Needles has a brief however robust historical past of the Girls’s Open, with a listing of champions that embody Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr.
Solely as soon as had it gone to Pinehurst — the back-to-back weeks in 2014 — and Pine Needles was among the many venues that could possibly be labeled because the programs the place the ladies performed the Open.
The long run lineup is suffering from historic programs, similar to Riviera and Merion, which have hosted U.S. Open over time.
Most telling was Oakland Hills on the listing. The Detroit-area course just lately went by way of a significant renovation underneath Gil Hanse, whose structure agency was chosen to design the Olympic Golf Course in Rio for the 2016 Olympics.
It has been making an attempt to land a U.S. Open for the seventh time. Oakland Hills is the place Ben Hogan famously “introduced this course, this monster” to its knees when he received the Open in 1951, nevertheless it hasn’t held the lads’s Open since 1996.
Hogan additionally received in 1948 at Riviera in Los Angeles, now website of the Genesis Invitational on the PGA Tour. It stays one of many extra fabled stops on the West Coast, however was seen has not having sufficient room for all of the infrastructure required for a males’s main, such because the U.S. Open.
Inverness in Toledo, Ohio, most just lately hosted the Solheim Cup. The Girls’s Open is also returning to Interlachen exterior Minneapolis for the primary time since Inbee Park received her first Girls’s Open in 2008. That can be performed in 2030, the a hundredth anniversary of Bobby Jones profitable the U.S. Open throughout his “impregnable quadrilateral” sweep of the 4 greatest golf tournaments of his day.
It was not instantly clear how a lot the winner would obtain on the U.S. Girls’s Open. Saso earned barely greater than the standard 18% of the purse, with the USGA wanting to offer the most important payoff at $1 million.
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